Top Secret Files: World War II – Book Review

wwIITop Secret Files: World War II: Spies, Secret Missions, and Hidden Facts from World War II

Stephanie Bearce
Prufrock Press Inc.
paperback, $8.95, 117 pp.
ISBN-13: 978-1-61821-244-3

Review by Elaine S. Wiener
click here for the PDF version of this review

I have made a new discovery! Her name is Stephanie Bearce.

It must have been a meant-to-be event because I don’t read about any war or wars. I don’t even watch mysteries on TV. But after reading

Top Secret Files: World War II, I am a convert.

Listen to what the back cover says:

Spy school, poison pens, exploding muffins, and Night Witches were all a part of World War II, but you won’t learn that in your history books. Crack open secret files and read about the mysterious Ghost Army, rat bombs, and doodlebugs. Discover famous spies like the White Mouse, super-agent Garbo, and baseball player and spy, Moe Berg. Then build your own secret agent kit and create a spy code. It’s all part of the true stories from the top Secret Files: World Wart II.

That will grab junior high kids for sure, but I now know that it also grabbed me. I could NOT put the book down.

This is a Prufrock Press book. That means that the format—the way things look on the page—is so entertaining, so clever, so engrossing that your eyes and brain can’t get enough!

And that is EXACTLY what jr. high school kids crave. Teachers could use Bearce’s books as motivation for the textbook because her books will allow students to enjoy in-the-moment what they have to study later. The stories are so entertaining that it doesn’t feel like studying, although they will enjoy learning in spite of themselves. And if educators who use these books are successful, our children will ask for more.

The style of writing has a rhythm that propels us through old facts. The sepia tones of the illustrations intensify the memories. And just look at some of the names that were involved in real spying: Ian Flemming,

Roald Dahl, and Josephine Baker.

In addition to such familiar names, there were many that Americans did not know but who invented codes and secrets that made the Nazi’s crazy. I was so impressed with the code breakers. They were brilliant. We were lucky to have them be successful.

And, of course, there is Winston Churchill. He believed and did things that he had to fight for, and history has proven him right.

I shudder to think of what would have happened had we not won WWII.

I think it is hard for a 14 year old to feel as older people do who lived through the war. That’s why it is so important to have our students become very involved in these books. I know of no other books about the war that could bring generations together!

Run, run, run to buy all of Stephanie Bearce’s books. Personally, I can’t wait to read all the others.

ElaineElaine S. Wiener is Associate Editor for Book Reviews for the Gifted Education Communicator.


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